KING 5, Northwest Harvest aim to reduce childhood food insecurity through Home Team Summer

Discontinuation of pandemic-era funding, the Child Tax Credit expiration and record inflation have strained many families’ resources and increased rates of hunger.

Author: KING 5 Staff

Updated: 8:01 AM PDT June 17, 2024

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SEATTLE — While many western Washington residents associate summer with vacation and fun in the sun, for school-aged kids experiencing food insecurity, it’s a time of hunger.This

Discontinuation of pandemic-era funding, the expiration of the Child Tax Credit and record inflation have strained resources for many families and increased rates of childhood hunger.

That’s why KING 5 and Northwest Harvest are teaming up with Safeway and the Seattle Seahawks for Home Team Summer. This campaign aims to raise awareness and support for programs working to close the $50 million gap that makes summer an anxious time for kids and their families.

In recent years, childhood poverty rates have risen dramatically, almost tripling from 2021 to 2022. Roughly one in 10 Washington kids were living in poverty in 2022.

For single-parent households, as well as Black, Hispanic or Indigenous families, rates were even higher in 2022.

Through storytelling, the Home Team Summer campaign aims to highlight the prevalence of this issue and share assistance available for Washington. 

Addressing the need

A nutrient-rich diet is critical for the development and growth of kids. Here are a couple of the programs and policies working to reduce childhood hunger during the summer months.

Summer EBT: Summertime food assistance for K-12 students is expected to help more than half a million Washington families afford more groceries. The Washington State legislature budgeted over $12 million to launch the program in 2024 thanks to the efforts of Northwest Harvest and many other organizations who advocated for the funding.

Learn more about the Washington SUN Bucks Summer EBT program

Free Summer Meal Sites: Through the USDA’s summer meal programs, approved community sites offer free meals to kids up to age 18. The programs are open to all families and don’t require any paperwork. The 2024 sites will operate approximately from July 1 through August 23.

Search for free summer meal sites in Washington

Schools, clubs, nonprofits, and summer camps in different parts of our community have also worked to address the issue. But you can help too.

How you can help

As part of the Home Team Summer campaign, you can help too.

Click here to donate online through Northwest Harvest between now and the end of the summer.

KING 5 will also host a food drive at Seahawks Football Fest at Lumen Field on Saturday, Aug. 3. To support those affected by childhood hunger, join KING 5, Northwest Harvest, Safeway and the Seahawks to donate non-perishable food items. Learn more about Football Fest here.

All donations made to Home Team Summer will go towards helping families in our communities.

Northwest Harvest recognizes that it takes more than food to end hunger. By addressing the root causes of poverty and getting food where it is most needed, they are working to end food insecurity in our state and create a more equitable food system for all Washingtonians. 

This article was originally published by King 5.

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